Phil Mickelson is beloved worldwide, but no place more so perhaps than New York, site of this year's PGA Championship.
Here's Clifton Brown of PGATour.com with some reasons:
"It started way back in 2002 at the U. S. Open at Bethpage Black. Mickelson hadn't even won a major yet, and he didn't win at Bethpage in '02. Tiger Woods did.
Yet, during those four days at Bethpage, something clicked between New Yorkers and Mickelson. I was there, covering the U. S. Open for the New York Times. Mickelson's galleries were huge. They were deafening. Mickelson didn't win, but he won over New Yorkers. Eleven years later, New York still turns into Mickelsonville whenever he comes back."
It's because Mickelson has somehow tricked us into thinking the $45-million-a-year man is a "blue collar guy" which is, of course, ridiculous but we buy into it.
Brown continues, talking about Mickelson's drive.
"Mickelson came up short in his first 43 starts at major championships before finally winning the Masters in 2004. Before that, many viewed Mickelson as an underachiever. That had to hurt. But when Mickelson is knocked down, he gets back up. New Yorkers know a little something about being resilient, and they respect it."
We also view him flying cross-country in his private jet for his daughter's middle school graduation as a "burden." But again, we buy into it.
Finally, the biggest reason New Yorkers love Lefty.
"Give Mickelson credit for being a people person too, a trait that New Yorkers have embraced. He signs autographs. He speaks to fans. He smiles when he plays. The fans are not inside the ropes with Mickelson. But they feel like they are, because Mickelson acknowledges their presence. Not everyone can play their best golf interacting with fans as much as Mickelson does, but he seems to thrive off the energy provided by his galleries."
And yet Mickelson has still never won a tournament in New York.